RAVENSCROFT, William (1561-1628), of Lincoln's Inn, London.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Family and Education

b. 1561, 2nd surv. s. of George Ravenscroft. educ. Brasenose, Oxf. 1578, aged 17, BA 1580; L. Inn 1580, called 1589. unm.

Offices Held

Clerk of the petty bag 1598,2 assoc. bencher and treasurer, L. Inn 1621, master of the library 1624.


Ravenscroft was related, through his aunt, to Thomas Egerton I, later Lord Chancellor Ellesmere, whose son John, 1st Earl of Bridgwater, proved a ‘real noble friend’ to Ravenscroft and his family. Chosen for a county seat while still a young man, and during his father’s lifetime, and again after his elder brother had succeeded to the family estate, Ravenscroft made two minor contributions to debate in the 1601 Parliament, on donations to the poor (2 Dec.) and on privilege (17 Dec.). As knight for Flintshire he was on committees for the subsidy (22 Feb. 1587), enclosures (5 Nov. 1597), poor law (5, 22 Nov.), armour and weapons (8 Nov.), penal laws (8 Nov.), monopolies (10 Nov.), the subsidy (15 Nov.), Newport bridge (29 Nov.) and in 1601 the main business committee (3 Nov.) and the committee on monopolies (23 Nov.). The major part of his legal and parliamentary career belongs to the Stuart period.3

‘In good and perfect health’ when he made his will in October 1628, Ravenscroft died on the 27th of that month, leaving his books to Lincoln’s Inn, where he had mainly resided. He must often have stayed with his elder brother Thomas, to whom, with a graceful reference to his ‘loving and kind entertainment’, he left a large monetary bequest. His younger brother Anthony was executor and residuary legatee. He was buried at Hawarden.4

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: A.H.D.


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 2. Lloyd, Powys Fadog, v. 267; L. Inn Black Bk. ii. 11, 85, 220, 225, 248; PRO ms index to petty bag office.
  • 3. HMC 3rd Rep. 258; NLW, 1595, f. 159; Townshend, Hist. Colls. 280, 330; D’Ewes, 409, 552, 553, 555, 557, 561, 565, 624, 649.
  • 4. PCC 99 Barrington, 17 Ridley; Misc. Gen. et Her. (ser. 2), v. 313; W. Ravenscroft, Some Ravenscrofts, 20.